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Skydiving is like losing your virginity

Hey everyone, not much time to write up a post today, so I figured I’d give you guys a fun one.
I was talking to a friend’s mom today at the DZ and she was about to do her tandem.
It was her first time and I realized… Your first tandem jump is like losing your virginity…

You first see it as an impossible thing that people are crazy to do.
Then one day, someone eases you into the idea and you start to think about it.
As you think about it more and more, it starts to be an exciting idea, but you remain unsure and uneasy.
Then you meet the one… That one person who convinced you that it’s a good idea and pushes the right buttons to get you to want to do it.
As you get closer to the moment that you’re about to take the plunge into your first time, you start to get nervous, slightly excited, but mostly nervous.
More and more until finally, the day finally arrives.
You can’t sleep all night thinking about what’s about to happen.
The morning comes, and all you think about is what’s about to happen, you start to get scared, nervous, excited, all sorts of emotions are passing through your body.
Finally, you get on, things start getting interesting, excitement starts to settle in, the people around you participating are either new to it just like you, they’re still experimenting/learning, or they’re seasoned experts.
You’re about to take the plunge when 1 thought crosses through your mind: “I can’t believe I’m doing this!”
Then you take the plunge.
Once it’s over, there’s one of 2 things you think,
The first is: “That’s all?”
The second is: “I wanna do it again!”

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I finally got my Protrack!

I haven’t had much opportunity to jump as of late, but I figured I’d give all of you a head’s up =)

I got my Protrack on Saturday and I plan on jumping it this weekend, so expect a review soon.

Initial opinion of Larsen & Brusgaard:
They have VERY fast shipping and from what I’ve heard, their service is impeccable.
The instruction manual is simple enough to read

As for the Protrack:
Setting up the logbook/audible was very easy.
It’s got some very sweet options including volume control, logbook for up to 9999 jumps.
Detailed logs of your last 10.
You can log your total freefall time up to now for it to keep track of future freefall time.
It calculates fall speeds (and has an option to compensate for pressure changes)

All in all, It’s a very sweet ditter so far and I’m looking forward to jumping with it 🙂

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Cutaway? I’d like to. Anything but watch that again.

Last week I watched the infamous and most lauded skydiving movie ever; Cutaway (2000).

That is to say: it is lauded by skydivers.

Wow. Did I say “most lauded”. As in, there was something to laud? Because holy crap people, this doesn’t speak well for the movie going sensibilities of skydivers!

Now I realize, that demographically speaking, most skydivers are young single men, who probably find Starship Troopers enjoyable. (I’m not even kidding. I’ve had this discussion. More than once. With actual men who claim to find Starship Troopers good! For reals!) And I know that the viewing pleasures of the Starship Trooper crowd is probably not well aligned for someone like me who does not have a penis and has the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice in her must watch list. BUT, in my defense, I also adore Tarantino films and Superbad and other reasonably modern and non-erudite cinematography, so I’m just gonna go out on a limb here and say that I have a right to review this film, as a skydiver. Okay? Are we all in agreement here?

So, strictly speaking, the movie is TERRIBLE! As in poorly written, clunkily acted, and just egregiously inept in many, many ways. However, it does feature some spectacular skydiving sequences.

In order to discuss, we must break it down. The skydiving was filmed by famed cinematographer and photographer Norman Kent. The skydiving footage is more than well executed. It is beautiful and exciting and well worth the price of the movie rental. And there is a lot of it. Every time I was sorely tempted to just turn the whole thing off, there would be another gorgeous jump sequence. The plot is however…painful.

The set up is sad and obvious in a way that hurts your intelligence unless you are seven years old: a young rule-bending cop (played with painful sincerity by Stephen Baldwin), Cooper, goes undercover in a drop zone ruled by an aging and intense maverick skydiver, improbably named Red Line (Tom Berenger somehow thinks intense is best portrayed by squinting and rattling out his lines like machine gun fire) and his scary and secretive second in command, Turbo. (Dennis Rodman, which is almost good casting because he is terrifying because he is tall and cannot act).

Shockingly, Cooper falls in love with Star, his instructor (a beautiful and personable young thing who would NEVER, EVER go for a halfwit shmuck like Stephen Baldwin after you see the lack of charisma he un-shines around the DZ). Cooper ALSO  is a NATURAL skydiver who is so talented and amazing that he quickly becomes a member of Red Line’s inner circle and competition big way team.

Oh, and also, someone at the DZ is running drugs and Cooper has to find out which of his new friends is in on the criminal aspects and who is just an eccentric skydiver type. The writers could have just skipped this part of the story line altogether (although it did provide reason for a few cool night jump scenes) especially since it has been done so often and better in other movies, like Point break. I would have enjoyed it more if they focused on the quest to built a champion eight way team for the nationals. Why not?

The usual skydiving tropes are present: the young kid jumper, the “old guy”, the scary guy, the young mountain dew type guys (improbably named “Rip” and “Cord”, how sad is that) with crazy hair and piercings, and of course, the hot blond.

The major theme is how sky diving takes over your life. As that is also a major theme of most of the contributor to this blog, it’s obvious that this has some veracity. However, like most things in this movie, this theme is taken to the extreme. Several characters literally renounce their old lives, successful careers and even their families in order to “cutaway” everything that is not skydiving. I’m not saying that never happens (we all know how our priorities shift in the face of a weekend filled with blue skies) but c’mon, must we quit our jobs? How would we even survive? There are no tandem customers seen after the first time Cooper goes to the drop zone. There is no business done other than drug running. I know we can all live (especially when sleeping in a tent on the DZ)  for far less than a mainstream person, but somebody’s gotta pay for the rig, the booze, the condoms, the tunnel time. Right? I guess suspension of disbelief is needed early in order to enjoy this film.

There are of course a few technical issues and continuity errors. The drogue comes and goes from the tandem sequence. The drug runners jump in on a 9 cell and then 20 minutes later jump off a building using 7 cell (base rig?) canopies out of the same containers.

The supposed skydive training is hilarious. Cooper bribes another tandem student to switch places on the plane in order to jump with the hot female instructor, Star. While learning to skydive, Cooper is almost immediately flying head down, freeflying like a pro, doing crew work, base jumping and other insane things that are not just implausible, but crazy. I’m surprised they didn’t show him proximity flying in a squirrel suit. But I digress.

All in all, it is worth the watch. Maybe, if I had a few cocktails, and it was raining, I’d watch it again.

The ending alone is epic. It is so bad that it almost redeemed the film.

And also, we cannot review this film without considering this great quote by Red Line:

Everyone thinks that I love this life, that I chose THIS. Who would choose this? It’s a God damn curse! Infructus!

Have you seen it? What did you think? What should I watch next?

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For the love of ZOO dives

If there’s one thing I love about being somewhere between a beginner and intermediate freeflyer is this: ZOO dives!

I know many people who get annoyed by zoo dives. We had a plan, it went to shit, and there’s disappointment and failure in that. So, I kinda get that. But as I see it, even if the plan doesn’t go, well, as planned, it’s still a skydive, and it’s still fun! Besides, when you’re in that experience range of 200-500 skydives, you’re at a place where you can think on the fly (pun intended) and turn the jump into something else entirely.

Take, for example, a 6-way skydive that ended the Jump for Diabetes a couple weeks back. We had a plan to have 4 guys as the base on their bellies and two of us as divers out of the King Air in hopes of catching the 4-way round and selecting one person in that circle to rodeo for the remainder of the jump.

Sounds totally doable, but as I was doing my first rodeo out the door, I realized that this jump was already headed in a different direction – so I held on for a longer rodeo! Funny thing was, Matt didn’t even know I was there till I poked my head around to his right!

After letting go I realized that the 4-way base never made it there, so they ended up improvising and doing a hybrid with the three guys who remained linked. Good stuff right there!

Then, lucky for me, I was able to release into a backfly to check this out, only to see Doug floating away from the attempted 4-way in a sit – so I jumped into a sit with him from afar.

Check it out on the video. It doesn’t look as fun as it was, but let me tell you that everyone enjoyed this skydive more than expected. It didn’t go as planned, at all, starting with me changing the plan immediately out the door, but we all just enjoyed our time in the sky, figuring out ways to make it a bad ass skydive no matter what. The smiles in the LZ were huge after that jump!

This is just one example of the funness (yep, I just made that a word)  that can be had on zoo dives. The other thing, is that when things don’t go as planned, it forces you out of your comfort zone. So say you miss the exit count and everyone loses their grips, you’re the forced to learn how to get it back together – whether it’s on your belly, your feet or on your head. As I see it, zoo dives have the potential to make you a better skydive, if you use that time wisely :).

One other thing not to forget, is safety. There are always safety issues that can arise on a skydive, regardless if they go as planned or not. But when they don’t, you get into additional issues like fall rates and separation and deployment. Be sure that, if the dive goes to crap, you know where all of your jumping partners are in the sky. When in doubt, flip over on your back to check out who might be above you before you deploy. And make sure you track away like there’s no tomorrow to ensure safe separation.

Okay, off my soapbox now – but that when promoting zoo dives, that had to be mentioned!

So, if you’re into zoo dives, I highly recommend keeping an eye on the Skydive Chick blog. I’m always posting videos of the crazy things we’re up to in the sky.

Like my friend’s 200th that went from “hey let’s do a hybrid” to total freefly zoo!

Hope everyone had a very jumpable weekend.

Blue skies!


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I wish I was a new AFF student again. For reals.

Since graduating AFF and completing my A license I am feeling a little lost.

When I go out to the drop zone, I no longer have an agenda. There is no clear plan.

The instructions upon completion of your A license are essentially this: Learn. Be safe. Don’t do anything too stupid. Have fun. Bring more beer.

I feel conflicted. I know that I have many things to work on (my track, my relative work, my body control, my canopy piloting) to be competent as a beginner. But where to start? How to best make progress? Where’s my “stop being a newbie pansy-ass idiot” checklist?

My newbie friend and I hatch plans to go up and do two ways and three ways and then we are thrilled when fundamental skills like a good exit come off and encourage each other about all the stuff we are “still working on” (i.e. SUCK at). But while we learn little bits, we don’t really push each other the way a more experienced jumper would be able to  push us and teach us. We think everything we do is awesome, because we are dopey and don’t know any better.

I also have some more advanced friends asking me to jump, which is very enticing, but sometimes I worry I am going too far too fast when I try to “play” with them and do a sitfly or a head down when I still can’t consistently do fundamental skills like dock and fly relative. When I’m up with them I feel embarrassed. They are nice about it, but how long will that last?

And then there are the days when there is no one to jump with. All my friends are either occupied with working jumps (flying camera, tandems, AFF instructing etc) or doing cool things I cannot even try to do (freefly groups and big-ways). I look around the drop zone and think: “Hmm. Bummer. Nobody to jump with. Maybe I’ll go work on my packing skills. Whimper. At least I’m saving money…” (I am pathetic sometimes.)

I’m stuck in the newbie zone: I know enough to realize how much I suck, yet I feel like the path to feeling “skilled” seems not only long, but hard to find.

I never know what to work on next or how to make that skill come. I know tunnel time would help – tunnel time would allow me to create some muscle memory with immediate feedback so I can better understand how what I THINK I am telling my body to do and what it actually does are not remotely the same (as they so often appear to not be). But tunnel time is waaay costly, and I’m already stuck in the vortex of saving for my rig while trying to jump regularly and pay for rental gear. It’s a viscous circle with no apparent end.

So, now I’m just whining. Which is just stupid because my biggest problem is that I love to skydive and have a ridiculously awesome new passion and am being stimulated by a new challenge and seduced by adrenalin and how can I even begin to complain when life is this good? Right?

So, enough already. Less whining, more jumping. See ya up in the clouds.

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A letter to skydiving – By Sydney Owen

Sydney, Ashley’s Life twin, and one of my recent new acquaintances wrote a letter to our beloved sport… I know exactly where she’s coming from, and I felt that this deserved a re-post… Check out her blog here

Dear Skydiving,

I’m going to tell you a little bit about me.

You know when you get to that place with something new in your life where you kinda shock yourself by how full-steam-ahead you’ve been approaching things? I’ve been there. A lot. It happened with rowing when I jacked up my hip flexor and was out for the rest of the season. It happened when I packed up my car to move to Chicago because, holy shit, this was actually happening. And it totally happened this weekend with us. I was sitting down at a picnic table and heard something about people going back to school. And then it hit me: um, hello August, nice to see you.

So after ground school in June, you took me by the hand and were all “hi Sydney, I’m your new life, let’s do this” and away we went. I haven’t really looked back since I started AFF. Cue my state of shock.

People are starting to talk about their plans for the winter. Which is totally exciting (for them) but makes me totally nervous about what’s going to happen in a couple months when season here wraps up. Nervous mostly because everything that every skydiver has said would happen once I decide that I’m straight up and down batshit crazy about this sport has happened. You’re addicting and I love pretty much everything about you. If it was actually possible, I’d just have my paycheck direct deposited into my account at the drop zone because that is where all of my money goes anyway. And, I’m okay with all of that. Every last bit of it.

But when we get back to the state of shock stuff, historically, in my little world, I’ve dealt with it in one of two ways.

One, I can keep going full steam ahead. In the instance of rowing, I didn’t have this option, my fate was decided for me. In the instance of skydiving, I can keep going. Keep jumping. Keep spending every waking minute between closing time on Friday and the morning drive on Monday at the drop zone, soaking it all in. Breathing in the culture, the people, the lifestyle, the group of people that have started to become my second family. I can keep going at the pace I have, try to turn off my brain about what happens in two months, and just LIVE. Continue to dive (ew, pun) head first into what is single-handedly the best thing to happen to me in a long time. Continue to fall in love with you, and do so with no reins, love this sport like I love anything that I really set my mind to, and figure out the rest when it happens.

Or, option two, I can start to reel it in. I hate this option. This turns into the battle of what my brain thinks is right vs. what my heart says is right. If I know that everything is going to shut down once the hangar closes for the winter, shouldn’t I start preparing myself for that? Shouldn’t I try to start weaning myself off of that lifestyle so it isn’t a complete and total shit show in my brain when I actually have to stay in Chicago on the weekends? Which, side note, I’m definitely not complaining about staying in Chicago, because it’s one of the greatest cities on the planet, but yeah, you know what I mean. The reeling it in option sucks because I’m cheating myself out of two months of awesome. The reeling it in option is usually the one I’ve gone with because I don’t want to deal with the aftermath.

So, skydiving, a couple questions. What do we do once things shut down? Do I chalk this up to the best summer ever and we’ll revisit when season rolls back around, rinse and repeat? Should I save money to plan winter skydiving trips so we can keep this thing alive? I’m new at this, fresh off of student status. What’s the procedure here?

hearts and sparkles,

Original post

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“A” license in a week….The mental game

Hi Everyone, I’m MJ….before I dive off into my first post I guess I should give you a little background on me. I started on the road to skydiving through my wonderful husband.  He had 6 Static Line Jumps and 4 free-falls years ago – while I had none.  He thought that I should take a tandem jump, thinking it would be a bucket list thing for me, and boy was he wrong.  I landed, and the first words out of my mouth were “I have to do it again”.  And so I did….another tandem – 2 days later (he went along for this one too).   This was last month, July 11th and July 13th.  Fast forward to today, I am a “A” licensed skydiver – and I finished it in 9 days.  I must say that I could not have done it without my family.  There were days that I thought that there would be no way that I would make it though the program.   My kids told me that I could do it (keep in mind that they are 7 and 4 years old and think its cool), the husband told me that I could do it and that he had faith in me – but the question was really if I had faith in me.  I sat there wondering….What was I fighting?  I was in fact fighting my own fears – my own insecurity.  When I conquered this and let go,  and realized that skydiving was really 90% metal and 10% physical.

To summarize my AFP jumps

AFP Jump 1 It took me a while to actually get out the door….

AFP #2,  I made it out better, and tried unsuccessfully to relax – potato chipping through the sky

AFP #3, the release dive, went completely unstable and tried to swim my way out (much like Nemo in Finding Nemo)   as to the point that my instructor pulled for me.

AFP #3 try #2, They released and I made it though stable.

AFP #4 try #1 & #2, I was still so scared from my mishap on AFP#3 try #1 that I didn’t want my instructor to let go.

AFP #4 try 3 I finally relaxed, and was let go of the entire time -from door to ground – and pulled very stable without assistance.   This is where I found my peace and confidence. After this one, there were no more do overs 🙂 Here was where I came to the realization that I was not fighting the wind, gravity, nor anything else….Just myself and the fear and insecurity that was inside of me.  When I let that go, I was truly free.  That was the realization and freedom that I needed to make my skydiving and my inner self really come together.  When I landed, the grass was truly greener – the sky was bluer, and more importantly, I was truly at peace with myself.  The things that get to you or irk you in life are no longer so troubling – in reality, its just a moment that too, will pass.  This is just like instability in the air, if you just relax and become neutral, it too will pass.   Once one breaks through this barrier in skydiving, or in life, it gets so much easier.

AFP #5-18 were a blast, from flips to rolls and everything in between.  The highlight was, in the end, was a six way graduation jump that was truly amazing, I’ll have to post the video one of these days.  I ended up with my “A” license in about 9 days.   Not to bad. ….Now, on to my quest for a rig…..

Blue Ones!


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Review of my new Factory Diver full face helmet

So I finally got the chance to jump the full face helmet I had to wait nearly 2 months to get…

It was worth the wait.

I’ve gotten 57 jumps done with an open face helmet wearing goggles…
After having done 2 jumps with a full face, I don’t know how I managed…
I see the ground so much more clearly, it’s not silent, but it’s so much quieter on the way down,
I barely hear the annoying flapping of the slider in the wind…
And all the stuff I heard about peoples’ full faces fogging up has now been 100% clarified to me.
I was sweaty, it was humid out, and I had the helmet on my head. (not over my face, just resting on the top of my head)
It fogged up fairly quickly.
As soon as I took it off, it started to clear up.
While wearing it, if I’d breathe through my nose, it would fog slightly around my nose, but not enough to affect me.
The vents for your mouth are well placed, so you can breathe quite well.
In freefall, the vent around your nose lets in just enough air to keep the visor from fogging up, but not enough for you to be bothered.
My favorite part of the helmet is landing…
It’s got a LOT of visibility, you don’t really have any blind spots which you do have with goggles… You see very clearly and judge distances much easier as well.
My landings were much more easy to gauge with the factory diver then with my goggles and open face.

Cost: 4*
Cheap compared to other full faces, but still fairly expensive

Comfort: 4.5*
It’s very comfortable, but unbearably hot when it’s sunny out, and small amounts of sweat make the material inside feel flooded

Look: 5*
It’s a very sleek and sexy helmet, easy to paint, very little to obstruct your vision.
Velcro on the side to tighten it instead of a strap with a snap.

Durability factor: 4*
The material inside probably won’t ever have any issues, but the Velcro will wear out and I’ve been told that I’ll end up having to add a snap. The lens is EXTREMELY fragile, to the point where even cloth would damage it and replacement lenses are never cheap.

Value: 4.5*
The Factory Diver is about 25% cheaper than the other full faces on the market, the visor doesn’t open, so you won’t have to worry about it opening randomly in free fall… This is both an upside and a downside. The Z-1 offers a safety button that keeps it from opening which gives it points, the FD simply doesn’t open.
The Factory Diver is also a bit bigger of a form, so fits a wider range of faces.
It loses .5 simply because some people want a helmet that can open.
It also has a slot for an audible altimeter on the inside lining.

Availability: 2.5*
I had to order it twice to get it, once through my DZ who never ended up receiving it, and then again through a buddy’s shop who was told that it would be on back order for a month.
7 weeks later, I had the helmet in my hands… That lost some major points for me since I’m looking to buy something now, not in 7 weeks… a 2-3 week waiting period is fine, but 7 weeks… (I waited 1 week for my Protrack to arrive at the DZ and it also had to be ordered… Review coming soon)

Overall: 4/5 Star rating
I’ll say that I’m very happy with my purchase regardless, and I’d suggest it for someone on a budget looking to get their hands on a full face helmet to add to their gear selection.

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5 Dumb Things Every Skydiver will do, eventually.

5 dumb things every skydiver will do at least once, in absolutely no order whatsoever.

1. Go up without gear.

It’s gonna happen at some point or another. You’ll be rushing to get on the next load and then next thing you know, no altimeter, no gloves, no helmet or goggles. At this point you have two options. You can either ride the plane back down, and pay for a plane ride, or throw your ass outta the plane. Depending on what you forgot, it may or may not be a big issue. Key thought – take the plane ride option if you forgot your rig entirely, dumbass.

2. Walk over someone’s lines while they are packing.

Apologize profusely, and bring a case of beer next week.

3. Cutaway

Another fact of skydiving life. That’s why every time you go up in the load you should practice pulling your handles. Do it however you were taught, and never forget where your handles are. Remember in an emergency, there are only two things that will save your ass – yourself, and your AAD. Make sure both are in jumping condition BEFORE you go up. Hopefully, you have nice friends and they’ll spot your malfunctioned main for you. If not, it’s time to find some new friends. PS – buy your beer.

4. Make a bad spot.

There are two simple ways to tell if this has happened, first – “If the door is closed, you’re hosed.” Ever look back and see the door of the plane shut when you know jumpers haven’t gotten out yet? Yeah, nice spot Sherlock. Wave off ASAP, and limp back at half brakes.
Ever go out on an RW jump and see that it’s 7000 feet, and everybody is gone? Oops, hope you make it back… No? Oh well, at least you’ll never forget the feeling of corn cobs smashing into your face as you’re landing in a field. Trust me – that shit hurts.

5. Try to stand up a landing that you should just slide/PLF.

You know it’s coming, maybe you’re slightly crosswind on your landing, or maybe your swoop is just a little fast. Odds are you’re wearing your brand-new white jumpsuit too. You don’t want to get it dirty, so you decide to try and run it off. Bad choice. At best you trip and fall, and ride it out on your knees. At worst, you break a few bones. Either way – your new jumpsuit has grass stains, and you still look dumb. Save the trouble. “If you’re not going to stand it up, don’t try to stand it up.” is a quote from an instructor that comes to mind.

This is just a small list to get everyone started, what do you guys think? Any other dumb things that all skydivers will end up doing at least once?

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Skydiving in Social Media

Let’s get real here for a moment…like really, real.

I love skydiving – for obvious reasons.

I love social media – mostly because I work in this space all day and see the benefits, like keeping up on the latest information, staying in touch with friends, getting updates on products and services you enjoy.

I also hate social media. (Don’t worry, I’m not about to say I hate skydiving…not in the slightest. :)) Social media has done things to our society that I fear can’t be undone. Sure, we’re more connected than ever before, but I also believe we’re more lonely than we’ve ever been. Our idea of “community” has been altered. We’re walking down a path that’s slowly putting us out of touch with our humanity (yes, Weeds fans, I did steal that line from the show, but it’s true)!

What’s more is that it’s making us passive aggressive individuals. Instead of talking to people in person or taking someone aside to chat about an issue, we’re publicly calling people out. I’m seeing this more and more with skydiving related topics as well.

In the last week I’ve seen skydivers who have posted about switching from RW to freefly, another who posted about downsizing (which is always a hot topic and everyone has their opinions), and subsequently, I’ve seen “friends” of theirs put them on the spot with things like “you shouldn’t do that, you’ll get hurt,” or “you’re too inexperienced,” or “are you sure about that?”

All this does is put people on the defensive – after all, they were just called out in front of their friends and families in one of the most populated social media communities.

Thing is, I really don’t believe the people who are making these passive attacks see it this way. It’s genuine concern most of the time – which we as skydivers truly love! But if you take a step back and look at how these very public comments come across, the potential outcome probably isn’t what was intended. Think about it, if you were at the DZ, instead of online, would you stand up on the picnic table and yell to the guy who is talking to his instructor about freeflying, “hey, you shouldn’t do that, you’re not proficient on your belly yet, you’ll get hurt, or worse, you’ll hurt someone else!”

Of course not! That would embarrass them, and possibly even make you look like a jerk. Instead, you’d have a personal conversation to express your concern for that person and those with whom they share the sky. That’s just common decency…isn’t it?

As a skydiver, I love having the ability to use social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) to keep up with things that are going on in the industry – updates from USPA, manufacturers like PD and Infinity, getting links to the latest blog posts – and staying updated on my jumping buddies, where they’re headed for the weekend, staying in touch with those I’ve met in my travels, but when I see skydivers who have to get defensive because of someone who didn’t stop to think of the outcomes of a comment they could have sent privately, that starts to make me question how great these tools are after all.

Now don’t get me wrong here, this isn’t an attack on anyone who may have done something similar in the past. I believe everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, so I truly believe that most of these comments are not meant to publicly humiliate other jumpers, or to try to put someone in their place for the purpose of making them feel bad. That’s just not skydiver nature, as far as I’m concerned. We jump together, we beer together (yes, beer can be a verb), we chill around the bonfire together…hell, we do just about everything but sing Kumbaya together at the end of a great day of skydiving. Well, maybe if we’ve had enough of that beer I was referring to, but that’s an entirely different topic altogether.

Point being, I do honestly believe that everyone has the best of intentions in this sport, and those that don’t are quick to be outed by their own behavior. I blame social media for our ability to post anything and everything online and not think for a second that there’s anything wrong with that. But when it involves someone else, that’s when I think it’s time to take an extra second to review how your words could be perceived.

In the end, we’re all here to help each other out. So to the defenders: stop being so sensitive…they likely didn’t mean anything by it. It’s your decision if you want to freefly or downsize or BASE jump or whatever. Just make sure you’re being smart about it. To the antagonists: you’re probably not how your comments make you seem, you’re likely just concerned, but be sure it’s coming off that way, and not as “you’re an idiot, I’m smarter than you and a better skydiver than you so you better listen to me and so should all your friends who will see this post too.”

But then again, this is just my advice, which, given that this is a social media platform, could very well be taken as “skygod-ish” itself.  Though I promise you, that is not my intent. From one skydiving, social media user to another….

Blue skies!